Founded in 1986 by former real estate agent Jean Phillips, Screaming Eagle epitomizes low-production, exclusive Napa winemaking. From its whiz-kid winemaker to a decades-long waiting list, here are eight things you need to know about Screaming Eagle.
At the 2000 Auction Napa Valley, a 6-liter Imperial bottle of 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon sold for $500,000. And that’s not the most remarkable thing about the sale.
Normally, when wines fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction, they’re European, ultra-rare, and extremely old. That this deep-pocketed bidder was willing to spend half a million dollars for an 8-year-old Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon demonstrated the significance of the label — and its category.
The sky-high prices associated with Screaming Eagle come from bottles sold on the secondary market. For a cheaper, three-figure alternative, drinkers can buy directly from the winery’s mailing list, but expect to wait decades for a slot to come up.
The 2014 Screaming Eagle is an 880-case blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc. The telltale sign of this iconic wine is its extraordinary purity of crème de cassis fruit, which is displayed abundantly in the 2014. It doesn’t quite have the structure and mass of the 2013, but this sexy, up-front, opaque ruby/purple-colored wine is seamlessly constructed, full-bodied, and has a long finish with silky tannins. This seems to float across that palate with that great fruit purity that is a characteristic of Screaming Eagle. Drink it over the next 25+ years. 97RP